Jehovah’s Witness and Mormon cultural groups have unique attitudes towards education in general and different educational activities. Although knowledge is vital for cultural groups, some of them have specific views on educational organizations. This paper will analyze two cultural groups’ opinions on education and its process, highlight the areas that might lead to misinterpretation within schools, and name five approaches that schools can employ to reduce the cross-cultural barriers between each of these two groups.
Jehovah’s Witnesses consider education an important activity that helps a person develop practical wisdom and thinking ability. Secular education options are evaluated carefully by the members based on the cost and value (Jehovah’s Witnesses, n.d.). Nevertheless, spiritual education is appreciated higher than secular education because it gives the knowledge of God that can save the lives of Jehovah’s Witnesses (Ealing Grid for Learning, n.d.). The group considers higher education as spiritually dangerous because Jehovah’s people believe that it can erode beliefs and convictions of children and is a waste of time (Ploeg, 2017). Jehovah’s Witnesses prefer their children to participate in activities that have academic sense instead of religious and would not support competition in games and activities, such as dances, plays, or charitable events, as well as several courses, such as sex education (Kamanga, 2016).
Mormons have different views on education and its process in comparison to Jehovah’s Witnesses. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (n.d.) encourages Mormons to learn, ask for knowledge, emphasizing that education is crucial for salvation. Representatives of the Church stimulate efforts of members to enhance literacy, education, skills training and follow the prophets’ claim that Mormons should get as much knowledge based on traditional family values as they can excluding topics, such as sexuality and GLBTQ (Adams, n.d.). Religion should also be taught at the Church weekly with the scripture study and during family nights. Nevertheless, it is claimed that Mormons should never prefer spiritual over secondary education because it helps to find the path to eternity.
Considering the strategies and techniques that can facilitate communication and education of students, who have different cultural peculiarities, several approaches can be named. The first technique can be used to reduce the cross-cultural barriers between these two groups and the schools, namely early consultations with children and their parents (Ploeg, 2017). The communication about restricted information that should be given to children from cultural groups should then be transferred to teachers to adopt specific topics in the education plan. The second strategy to lower the cross-cultural barriers is the flexible changes in activities that teachers should incorporate during the classes (Hanover Research, 2016). When some students express an opinion that they cannot participate in specific events, teachers should have other options to substitute an activity, considering children’s beliefs. To accomplish these objectives, only the time and effort of all stakeholders are needed.
The third option to reduce communication and acknowledgment of other cultures in schools for different cultural minorities is by using a framework for cultivating students’ cross-cultural awareness. Analysts propose the model that suggests several methods to decrease biases towards other religious, ethnic, and cultural communities and its members (Xu, 2016). For instance, organizing culture-featured classroom activities so that children would be open to sharing their values and would not be withdrawn from specific actions (Xu, 2016). The fourth method is to present all materials and events at school as theories and not universal rules, suggested by experienced teachers that require time, effort, and educational materials prepared in advance by professionals (Adams, n.d.). Finally, incorporating diverse families’ home cultures into the school curriculum can be useful to reduce cross-cultural barriers. Families may attend a school and talk about their knowledge, while students might research different cultures and prepare presentations; this activity would require only materials to be designed and stakeholders’ time (The Learning Coalition, n.d.). All techniques might help children, parents, and teachers to find common communication activities and avoid conflicts.
Adams, L. (n.d.). Mormon teacher, secular school: The dilemma. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Web.
Ealing Grid for Learning. (n.d.). Jehovah’s Witnesses background information. Web.
Hanover Research. (2016). Best practices in engaging diverse families. Web.
Jehovah’s Witnesses. (n.d.). How do Jehovah’s Witnesses view education? Web.
Kamanga, F. (2016). Experiences of religious minorities in public high schools in the pioneer valley: The case of Jehovah’s Witnesses. University of Massachusetts Amherst. Web.
Ploeg, L. (2017). Lack of education leads to lost dreams and low income for many Jehovah’s Witnesses. NPR. Web.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. (n.d.). Latter-day Saints and education: An overview. Web.
The Learning Coalition. (n.d.). Ways to overcome cultural barriers. Web.
Xu, K. (2016). The strategies of fostering students’ cross-cultural awareness in secondary school English teaching. Open Journal of Social Sciences, 04, 161-170. Web.